Duterte pressed Sueno on corruption allegations—Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte openly questioned former Interior Secretary Ismail “Mike” Sueno during Monday’s Cabinet meeting amid allegations that the latter was involved in corrupt activities, a Palace official said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, who shed light on the latest movement in the Duterte Cabinet, confirmed that Sueno’s dismissal was “a loss of trust and confidence” from the President.
Asked if the dismissal had anything to do with public transaction and funds, Abella said “to some extent, that may be part of the reason.”
“The President has done due diligence and so he has checked into the matter and some people — some, you know, and apparently he has taken note of several legally untenable situations,” he said.
But Abella was mum on the details after he was pressed by reporters.
“Like I said, let’s keep the details. Let’s keep the details for — set the details aside for whatever actions need to be taken afterwards,” he said.
Duterte reportedly received a letter linking Sueno to corruption in the agency. Asked if this was part the President’s decision to sack Sueno, Abella said, “I doubt it. I doubt it. It’s more than just the letters.”
He said Duterte “has apparently some insight into the situation.”
During the Cabinet meeting on Monday night, Abella said the President was “quite open and frank in questioning the Secretary” during the Cabinet meeting.
“The President is very serious in restoring trust in the government,” Abella said.
“One of the problems of the Philippines is that the Filipinos have lost trust in the government. But by addressing it so firmly and so with decisiveness, it just goes to show how deeply invested the President is in nation building. I think that is of more importance,” he added.
Sueno, who was one of the people who convinced Duterte to run for president, is the second major Cabinet official to be dismissed due to allegations of corruption.
Just last month, Peter Tiu Laviña, who served as Duterte’s campaign spokesman, was sacked as head of the National Irrigation Administration.
Abella said there was no replacement yet for Sueno. IDL/rga
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